“To the conqueror …” 1964
In 1964 my husband, myself and our three children made the big transition from an apartment in New York City to a lakeside home in "small town, USA". It was a culture shock, to say the least, but we loved the sounds and sights of the lake. In many ways it seemed to be noisier than the city, especially at night when the night critters kept up a constant din.
We thought we were attuned to these sounds until one Spring morning when we were awakened before dawn by a strange noise. It was difficult to place where it came from, but it sounded very much like the rustling of many newspapers.
As the dawn brightened we were able to discern three ducks in the water very close to shore. Two of the ducks were fighting...the thrashing of their wings producing the strange rustling sounds. The other duck was at a discreet distance...aloof to the whole sordid affair and we finally figured out what was happening.
Obviously these were two male ducks fighting for the attention of the fair, feathery maiden. We watched in amazement as the battle played out and finally one of the ducks gave up and skulked off. The duck-duel was over and the winner could claim his prize.
I don't know what we expected at this point...perhaps a tender touching of bills or a graceful encircling of two ducks in ecstasy. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
The male duck swam behind the female and proceeded to prod and nudge her on her feathered rump. He was anything but gentle as he pushed her along toward the middle of the lake for one and all to see.
"After all", he seemed to be saying, "I am the conqueror and to the conqueror go the spoils........"